My Experience - A Cautionary Tale
Hard Wired

Subject: My experience
Date: Thu, 1 Sep 2005 14:31:52 -0500

I've been delaying this report of my ORMUS experience for almost 2 years now.  At first, the reason was that I felt ashamed about what I had apparently done to myself.  Later, it was because I wasn't sure how it was all going to turn out.  At this point, I think that I can safely say that the changes have finally become minimal and, in as far as any conclusion can be drawn from a single experience, now's the time to do it - while it's still relatively fresh.  Or, maybe 'conclusions' is the wrong word anyway.  My experience seems so different from any other that I've read about that maybe no conclusion can be drawn, except that a negative experience is available to an ORMUS experimenter too.
Before I started taking any ORMUS product, I did a fairly thorough Internet search for research that had been done on the subject.  All I found were a few quasi-scientific experiments, a lot of individual reports - and speculation, some of it pretty wild.  I finally bought one of the Mountain Manna products and began taking it.  It's hard for me to describe what I felt.  It was definitely a good feeling though.  Maybe the feeling was especially anticipatory - sort of like a good feeling that might get better over time.  It was enough for me to decide to invest more personal time into it.  I read up on the wet method and decided to make some of my own.  I bought three sacks of Celtic Sea Salt at Wild Oats, saturated about three gallons of distilled water with it, and began the base titration process with it.  It took *forever* to complete.  I spent a couple of days bent over this 5 gallon container with a wooden spoon in one hand and an eye dropper full of liquid lye in the other.  Drip (stir, stir, stir) drip (stir, stir, stir) etc.  Every few eye droppers full I'd check the pH with my electronic meter.  The pH finally began to change and it happened so fast that I found that I'd gone over 11.  So, after I had let it settle and had removed the water above, I added white vinegar to the solution until all the precipitate went back into solution.  Then, I did it all over again - this time being even more careful not to exceed a pH of 11.  After washing the precipitate 3 times I finally got to test my result.  The yield was very small.  It was disappointing.  I didn't feel much of anything from it either.  The Mountain Manna product was much better, I thought.
Then, I went to one of Barry's workshops.  He demonstrated extracting ORMUS from Dead Sea salt.  Unlike me, he didn't titrate at all - he just poured the lye in - and he got *lots* of precipitate.  I remembered reading that there was speculation that Dead Sea salt didn't contain heavy metals in solution - so I reasoned that was why he felt comfortable doing it this way.  The whole process couldn't have taken more than about 2 minutes.  So, the next time I felt like spending some time making ORMUS I decided that I'd use Dead Sea salt - even though the result was supposed to be mostly m-state gold.  
By this time, I really wanted SOMETHING to happen as a result of all of my work.  It had been a big let down to spend days extracting ORMUS from Celtic Sea salt and have no discernable result from it.  So, I did the wet method again, using the same materials: the same pot, the same spoon, the same container of Red Devil lye, and the same brand of distilled water.  But, this time, I used some Masada Dead Sea Salt in place of the Celtic Sea salt.  Also, as a result of watching Barry pour the lye instead of titrating it, I didn't feel so determined to go as slowly as last time.  But, at the same time, I was still a little worried about ending up with heavy metals in the result.  So - I compromised by squirting dropper-fulls at a time instead of drops (until it got close to 11).  Instead of taking days, this time it only took a few hours, I didn't go over 11, and -OH BOY- was there a difference in yield!  After washing it (letting it settle, and sucking off the water above the precipitate with a turkey baster) three times I had over a cup of thick precipitate.  Some of it was almost like curds, it was so thick.  
I had read that one should consume about a teaspoon per day.  But, I reasoned that if a teaspoon wasn't too much for a 90 pound woman, that I, a 265 pound man could probably tolerate more.  So, I started with a tablespoon.  I'd dip my measuring spoon in the mason jar and pull out 1 tablespoon and mix that with 8 ounces of water and stir to dissipate the curds.  Then I'd drink it.  
This time, I was pleased to note that, after only 3 days or so, I was beginning to 'hear' a high pitched note all the time.  And, if I plugged up my ear holes with my fingers - the note was just as loud as before.  I believed that this was an indication of the definite result that I had been seeking.  After about a week of this, the sound had become louder and constant, and I felt a little discombobulated.  So, I cut back to just a teaspoon instead of the tablespoon I had been consuming.  But, that didn't slow down the progress of the loudness of the sound.  It got louder and louder.  It became difficult to be at work because I felt as if a part of me wasn't quite 'there'.  Also, I began to have problems coming up with the names of things.  That is to say, in conversation I would have a concept that I wanted to relate.  The concept would come up - but the noun for that concept wouldn't.  I found myself constantly reaching for names that just seemed to have been wiped out.  So - I stopped taking the ORMUS.  Altogether, I had been consuming it for 2 weeks to the day.  But, the experience that I have been describing continued to get stronger (and louder).  Two weeks later, in the first week of September, I got fired from my job.  I've never really been sure why, but I don't think it was ORMUS related.  The combination of my new condition and the general discombobulation of being fired left me mostly too tongue-tied to do anything but try to get it over with quickly.
Now, unemployed and more and more alarmed with my new state, I began to wish that it would go away.  I needed to be seeking a new job and wanted to feel a lot more grounded than I did.  But, instead, the experience, if anything, seemed to be gathering speed.  The sound changed now too.  Instead of a single high pitched note, it became like a swarm of cicadas.  And it was louder and louder too: "rrreeeeEEEEE! rrreeeeEEEEE! rrreeeEEEEE!".  I know that it all took place in my brain because I could run my thumbnail across the fingerprints on my forefinger, next to my ear, and hear them perfectly above the thrumming.  At one time I lived out in the country during a summer when there was a huge swarm of cicadas in the trees around my house.  I remember that I couldn't hear my VW Superbeetle idling right next to me because they were so loud.  That's what it was like - except the rhythm of the thrumming was in cadence to my heartbeat.  Oh - and the other difference was that I could hear any external sound that I concentrated on perfectly well.  I worried that I might have high blood pressure - but I got it checked at the drugstore on their waiting room machine - and it wasn't any higher than before.
The other thing that began to happen to me after a month of unemployment (it was now early October) was that the general discombobulation that I felt had become more thorough.  It's really hard for me to describe what this was like.  I will say that it caused me to avoid driving as much as possible because things that were alive seemed to be, subtly, moving.  Like - trees and grass would (sort of) pulse - but not automobiles or the road - or at least not as much.  And I felt an all-over sort of humming within me.  I suppose that some people may think that this sounds like something they'd like to experience - but, believe me, it isn't.  There was no pleasure attached to it at all - just a sort of general disassociation from my life.  Some others might find this description to maybe be some sort of 'spiritual' experience.  I think that they're wrong.  I've sought out and had many unusual spiritual experiences - in several different disciplines.  This wasn't like any of them in any way.  It felt like a general loss rather than gain.  By this time, I felt that there was no way I could possibly work.  I had attempted to do some programming at home on my computer but the effort was a total failure.  I just couldn't concentrate on the work at all.  I abandoned the idea of acquiring a new job until the effects wore off.  Of course, by now, I was beginning to wonder whether the effects *would* wear off - since everything was continuing to get more and more strange.
In early December my ears began to itch on the inside.  The itch got worse and worse and, of course, I couldn't really scratch it.  I presumed that the problem was somehow wax build-up related and treated it with an over the counter wax build-up remover product.  This only seemed to make the problem worse.  Then, around Christmas, they began to bleed.  My brother is an MD (which was handy because I didn't have insurance) and was in town for the family get together so I asked him to take a look.  He told me that I had developed an auto-immune disease in my ear canals and prescribed diprolene lotion - a steroid.  Within a week this had taken care of the problem.  My ears stopped both bleeding and itching with only a single drop in each ear.  All I had to do was keep doing it once a week or so and the symptom was resolved.  A year and a half later, I'm down to treating it once a month or so.  
By then it was early January and the effects of my ill-advised ORMUS experiment were at their most profound.  My days were just about hanging on.  I had become an anime fan.  I recorded anime with my DVR any time it was on, day or night, then I would watch them during the day.  Then, after I'd recorded all 13 episodes of a particular season, I'd commit them to VCR by watching them again while recording it.  I had a few other TV shows that I'd watch regularly too.  Plus, I had several Internet things I kept up with.  And, every day I'd read the White Gold list consolidated email and wonder what in the world had been different in what I had done and what everyone else seemed to have done.  I read about these subtle sounding experiences and tried to compare it with the insectoid roar that was going on in my head ALL the time.  My days went like this: I'd get up around 10 and make it to a nearby diner for breakfast by 11:30.  Then I'd read the paper until 1:00, go home, watch today's anime, read the White Gold List, check on my on-line comics, record my shows, go out for dinner, watch another couple of shows and fall asleep in my chair.  I'd wake up around 1:00am and stumble off to bed.  The next day would be just about identical.  The days became weeks became months as I spent my way through my life savings.  Time passed especially quickly.  
By March of the first year, I had begun to feel like I was beginning to recover.  I began to do a little programming successfully - although it was in fits and starts.  And the cicada sound was as loud as ever.  At one point, I had several friends over to do some Zikr.  Two of them had arrived and we were sitting around talking while we awaited the rest.  Suddenly, they began to look at me funny.  When I asked why they said, "Aren't you going to answer the door?"  It wasn't that I couldn't hear the doorbell - it was that the sound of the doorbell just kind of blended into the general roar that was going on in my head.  When it rang again and was I was listening for it - I heard it just fine.  
That spring I began to take walks around the neighborhood.  The flowers and trees were just breathtaking!  I noticed something else at around that time too.  I have what I refer to as an orientational disability.  It manifests in locating myself in new things.  I have more trouble than most people grasping totally novel concepts.  Years ago, moving from traditional programming to object oriented programming about killed me.  Once I have a point of reference I begin to do OK.  It's just that first part of becoming located in 'space' that is hard.  As you might imagine, I have always had a terrible time navigating as well.  I understand that some people, somehow, just 'know' what direction they're going in.  Well, I can't do that at all - I can't even imagine what that might be like.  I navigate by intellect only.  As long as I have a reference point to relate my current location to - I'm fine.  But, if I don't, I'm really lost.  And that condition has always been terrifying for me.  I panic when I realize that I have no idea where I am or where I'm going.  It's the sort of panic that begins as big ball of adrenaline in the gut and then spreads out physically to the extremities and shakes them?  Anyway, one day I found myself lost on the way home from dropping a friend at the airport.  But, unlike every other time I've been lost, I didn't experience any fear whatsoever.  I even had a tiny notion what direction I must be moving in and realized that eventually I'd make it back to some street I knew.  There was no panic or terror whatsoever.  I could just accept the situation for what it was and be with it.  
Similarly, I sort of began to accept that whatever had happened to me as a result of taking the ORMUS that I had made might be permanent.  It might even kill me.  When I looked at it rationally, my symptoms certainly seemed like they might be brain damage.  But, uncharacteristically, that didn't scare me.  I found that I could just accept it and await my fate (although I did feel too embarrassed at what I had done to myself to tell anyone I was close to) whatever it might be.  I found myself living more in the moment than at any time in my life previously.  And it didn't feel good or not good to be that way.  It was just empty.  It just was.
I think it was in October of the second year that I began to feel some desire to accomplish something again.  I began to become bored with being a television watcher and depressed at my prospects.  By now, I had a killer anime collection lining my shelves.  I began to be able to think in terms of the future and be concerned about it.  I could tell that I was getting better and my money was beginning to run out.  I still couldn't imagine an office being able to cope with me at that point.  Everything around me was still vaguely psychedelic.  I had started becoming interested in poker on TV.  I began to scheme on how I could write a computer program that would give me an edge in playing on-line limit Texas Holdem.  Between October and February, I created a monster database of ranked card possibilities for every possible situation (did you know that there are 133,784,560 possible 7 card Holdem hands?) and a program that would make use of it to advise me on my odds as I played limit Holdem on-line.  My idea was that I could make a living at home without having to be around other people.  Ultimately I won about $18,000 in PLAY money in a month - but when I took it to real money games the data entry was too slow to keep up.  So, after several efforts to speed it up failed, I abandoned it.
By March of the second year I wasn't always hearing cicadas.  Sometimes it was more like the general insectoid sound that you might hear at night in the country.  There were several distinct sounds - well, it's too hard to try to describe them.  Just imagine being in a tent in the woods in July at ten at night.  There were different kinds of chirps and rasps and 'bee-da-leeps' all happening more or less chaotically.
Now it's September of the third year.  At this point, it's been two years since I started taking, for only two weeks, the ORMUS that I made. I feel very optimistic about my future now.  I'm still unemployed, but I have several very good opportunities in the works.  While I'm not at all the same as I was, at this point I can cope with the world around me just fine.  The sound has dwindled down to just a little high-pitched noise that oscillates a bit with my heartbeat.  I ultimately moved in with a friend when the money was running out.  When I say that I'm not at all the same, what do I mean?  Well, I think I'm a little more accepting of both myself and other people now.  I appreciate everyday reality more than I used to.  I think I'm more relaxed.  I sometimes feel just a little fear - but never the strong bolt of fear that I felt periodically all my life.  I can navigate better than I used to, I think.  I still have the auto-immune thing in my ears - but, it has improved.  
Someone told me once that we assemble our reality from a small portion of the possibilities that exist around us.  I always thought that was an interesting concept - but now, at times, I if I really relax and let go - my assemblage point disappears almost completely and I'm just aware of myself in a cacophony of potential.  But, I can will it back together again in a way that's useful - and I find that's very important to me.  Whereas, a year and a half ago, I was fighting just to be able to assemble myself at all - if that makes any sense to you.  I think that I might have thought of this as a spiritual experience at one time.  But really, this is just a different way of framing the question - it's not an answer.  It's a reminder to me that my reality is only a shadow or reflection of 'the reality'.  But - it doesn't resolve anything.  There are other, subtler, changes that are harder to define.
So - was it all worth it?  I don't know exactly how to answer that. I lost most of two years of my life and all my life savings. I developed a disease.  I've changed in ways that I did not intend to and could not have even comprehended at the start.  Although I didn't feel fear for all of that time - I was depressed for a part of it.  If I knew what was going to happen - would I do it again?  No.  Definitely not.  It was too hard.  There were few points along the way that I was happy to be where I was.  It wasn't fun at all.  But, at the same time, this experience has led me to where I am  now - and although it was never my goal to be here, I am quite satisfied to be here just the same.  
All the times I thought about writing this report, I wondered how I could resolve to your satisfaction the difference between my experience and the so-much-nicer-sounding experiences that others have reported with the same substance.  Will you believe me?  I think that this must be the only cautionary report that I've read about ORMUS - with the exception of Jim's, and his was fundamentally different, I think.  I've wondered if I somehow blew the extraction and ultimately suffered from some sort of poisoning and brain damage.  But I don't think so - I did the same process twice, using the same tools.  The main difference between the two is the substance (Masada Dead Sea salt) that I used the second time.  And nothing at all happened, good or bad, the first time.  So - I don't think it was the pot or the spoon or the lye or the eye dropper.  I guess it's possible that my container of Dead Sea salt was somehow unique, or at least different.  Or, maybe my physiology is just different than other peoples.  Maybe I was supposed to add water back to the container after the third wash - although, I don't remember the procedure saying so.  I don't know.  But - I do know this: in spite of all my reading and research, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  No notion that what subsequently happened to me was even a remote possibility.  If it happened to me, I have to presume that it could happen to someone else too.  So, I'm going to publish it here on the list and let the chips fall - and I hope that Barry will also move it to wherever it is that he keeps accounts of peoples ORMUS experiences so that someone searching for information on ORMUS will be able to reference it.
You may wonder how I feel about ORMUS at this point.  I'm still very curious.  I still read the compiled White Gold list every day.  I still have the feeling that there must be something to it all - something positive that's available from it.  I've ruled out the placebo effect - for myself at least.  As far as I'm concerned, ORMUS, as a substance or state of matter that affects human biology, is for real - although I can't say that it has, necessarily, a positive effect.  I'm not at all interested in making my own anymore.  Neither am I interested in ORMUS gold.  But, I am curious about the effects of other m-state elements - rhodium and iridium in particular.  Someday, when I have money again, I may buy some more to consume myself.  I fed most of the remainder of what was left of a commercial product from my last round to some tomato plants last spring.  I gave some to two of the plants and none to the other 9.  Ultimately, I can't say that I notice any difference between the treated and untreated plants - but that could be because the ORMUS was over 2 years old.  Maybe the biggest change in how I feel about ORMUS is that I feel that I will be much more respectful and cautious, in the future, of what I ingest into my body.  I've become aware that the stakes are greater than I had believed.  
Some may fault me for not signing my narrative with my real name.  They may point out that if I'm being straight up why won't I own it?  Well, the truth is that I do feel I have something to hide and to lose.  I feel pretty foolish for having done to myself what I did - and I have no-one to blame but myself.  It's unlikely that some future potential employer - or for that matter, anyone I know - will read my name on the White Gold list and associate my name and experience with me - but then again: they might, and I don't want that.  In an odd way I feel like I have a clean slate right now.  I feel fairly reluctant to allow a public record of my experience to be out there at all - to be connected to that past.  I considered not writing.  So, I've decided to compromise by using an anonymous handle instead so that at least you can refer to me if there is any discussion.  Call me -
Hard Wired